Thursday, April 15, 2021

the last book I ever read (My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland, excerpt four)

from My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland:

Carson also found company in books. Her longtime favorite was the autobiography of dancer Isadora Duncan, My Life. “When I was fourteen years old, the great love of my life, which influenced the whole family, was Isadora Duncan,” she writes. She tried to start a dance company and informed her father that the family would be moving abroad to support her dancing dreams, which were short-lived. As a kid, Carson was frequently ill, with almost yearly bouts of pneumonia, and missed a lot of school. Her closest friends were adults: aunts and grandmothers were significant early on, and her nannies and maids all makes appearances in Illumination—black women role models even if, in the 1920s small-town South, they were household servants. In therapy she calls her piano instructor, Mary Tucker, one of her first loves and describes her as a kind of personal deity. For years, she took lessons at Tucker’s house every Saturday and planned to be a musician, attending high school only sporadically and spending most of her time on music. Cue the song of the queer, creative childhood, the telltale signs of growing up isolated, independent, and artistic in a conservative place. She writes, “I yearned for one particular thing; to get away from Columbus and to make my mark in the world."

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